This post is for the people who love the holidays but still experience some form of intense anxiety during it.
As someone who is the Queen of experiencing anxiety from things she also loves, I'm excited to expound upon this topic. We are now well into the Holiday season and my birthday comes after Thanksgiving and before the Holidays and let me tell you it’s a time that’s jam packed with emotions and very confusing ones as well. Now that my birthday is over, I thought I would feel a little less wound up but I’m going back and fourth between ultimate chill coziness and then really alert anxiety. It’s exhausting. But I believe a lot of my stress right now is coming from school and all the final projects and final tests are happening right now.
For me, one of the biggest sources of holiday anxiety is going to the mall. And just going anywhere and having it be super crowded. As a hypersensitive person this just causes me to spiral. Especially when I feel people are in my bubble and right as flu and covid cases are starting to rise again. It just makes it feel kind of hard to breathe with that many people. And also there’s an energy and sometimes you feel an aggressiveness or feel this low-key anger out there. So, I am trying to do as much holiday shopping online as possible to avoid the crowds! But then on the flip side, I love visiting all the malls because they are decorated so beautifully!!
Another thing that causes stress is gift giving. Something that is supposed to be so beautiful and touching actually makes me spin out in my head. I always fear the person won’t like their gift and then the people pleaser in me feels like they will like me less because of it. When really, it’s just the thought that counts and it’s not about me! *sigh*
Around this time of year I deeply stress about my appearance too. After thanksgiving and birthday activities I don’t feel the most confident in my body, especially with all the holiday treats. But it inspires me to keep up my favorite activities like Martial Arts, and Yoga, and I am loving my new meal kit delivery service I am using called Green Chef. Insanely delicious and healthy food that I’ve noticed makes a big difference in how I feel mentally.
Something else that causes stress, having holiday plans and going to holiday parties. Especially with social anxiety. And White Elephant is the worst! Feeling so much anxiety that no one will pick your gift and if they do they’ll trade it for something better. And though I’m not actively working for a specific company right now, I remember how stressed I would get about holiday company parties. The schmoozing and not knowing what to say to people. But I did used to enjoy the amazing feasts, getting dressed up and open bar.
There may be many of you feeling stressed about holiday travels. Be it because of covid, high expenses, or just travel anxiety in general. Or, you may be feeling triggered about seeing your family or people from the past. Though I live where I grew up and don’t necessarily experience this, I completely understand why this would cause feelings of unease and why someone could get in their head about it.
And after bitching this entire blog post about anxiety, I would like to end on a high note. And put an emphasis on the fact that it’s always worse inside your head. The best thing you can do to alleviate anxiety is prepare for it. Expect to be anxious so you have your mental health tool kit ready. I mean that lavender essential oil, medication if you’re taking some, self-acceptance if you need to get more rest than usual, more alone time to decompress, saying no to things that wig you out (and if you’re not sure how to decide the number one rule I use and come back to is, “if it’s not a HELL YES it’s a HELL NO” so let that be your guide).
There are many beautiful things about this time of year. Giving, joy, decorations, music, fashion, friendship, connection, family. Practicing gratitude always helps me out when I get in an anxiety spiral and writing my feelings out helps me too. And let’s be real, some CBD oil doesn’t hurt either. I hope that everyone can find a sense of rest and ease throughout this season and that it goes smoothly.
And may this season being you an endless amount of joy and peace.